By Sungard AS
So how do you go about picking the best partner to develop a robust business continuity plan?
There are ten questions you should ask any potential provider right at the start.
Here are the first five – all focused on the company as a whole. Part 2 of this series goes a bit deeper, but let's start with the basics!
The first question is completely quantifiable: how long has the provider been in business? And, specifically, how long have they been doing business continuity planning? (After all, a company may have been in business 18 years, but only started in the business continuity field 18 months ago.)
Can a "young" company be a good choice? Perhaps – but you should perform a lot of due diligence to be sure they know their stuff and that they're stable enough to survive. Longevity, on the other hand, brings with it certain benefits:
These are all crucial qualities in a business continuity partner.
This question looks at the provider's reputation in the industry. Four key ways to examine reputation are:
Business continuity planning must encompass many factors if it is truly going to ensure overall business resiliency. You want to be sure the provider you choose has the appropriate breadth in their capabilities to deliver that resiliency.
For example, suppose you choose a provider who gives you a disaster recovery plan – a core component of business continuity planning. That's well and good, but if they don't also give you crisis management capabilities, your company may devolve into chaos at the next business interruption.
Instead, a business continuity provider should have capabilities that address IT concerns, business processes, crisis management, cyber security, and more. In essence, they should address the entire spectrum of resiliency enablement.
When you look at a provider's capabilities, you should also look at their mindset and approach. For instance, a provider might have a large menu of services, but treat them all as separate items and passively allow you to pick and choose from among them. This can lead to a fractured program since you could conceivably "fail to sign up" for the right services for your business.
In contrast, a provider with a holistic resiliency mindset and approach will have a wide breadth of services, but couple that with the ability to put it all together with a focus on outcomes for the solution your company needs. They will be able to advise you how to create a business continuity program that is appropriate for your business, selecting the right mix of services and support to deliver true resiliency.
In the past several years, business continuity management has been the subject of many new and helpful standards, such as ISO 22301. Any provider you consider should be familiar with the industry standards and work in alignment with them.
Additionally, if you are in an industry with unique requirements, such as HIPAA for the healthcare industry, you want a provider who can execute a business continuity plan that supports those compliance requirements.
So there are the first five questions you should ask about any potential business continuity provider. These will let you know if you are on solid ground, or if you should cross the provider's name off your list of "possibles." Take a look at the second five questions of our "top 10" list in Part 2!
Related Business Solution: Speak to one of our business continuity consultants